We are so excited that @MargaretAtwood's #TheTestaments has been named the 2019 #BookerPrize winner, along with @bernardineevaristowriter's novel, Girl, Woman, Other! Congratulations to you both on this historic tie!
Margaret, you taught us all that “a word after a word after a world is power.” The world is a better place because of the power of your storytelling. Thank you for sharing your brilliance and for being such a tenacious defender of women, and a wonderful friend to Equality Now. #MakeEqualityReality#Sheroes#SmashThePatriarchy#BlessedBeTheFruit
It would be a literary event in any period; in ours, it's a cultural phenomenon. As The New York Times has described, perhaps no other writer has managed her own phenomenon with so much grace and skill. All over the reading world, history books are being opened to the next blank page and Atwood’s name is written at the top of it. To read this book is to feel the world turning, as the unforeseeable shifts of the last few years reveal the same old themes.
Other than Gilead, the Testaments largely takes place in the streets of Toronto (15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale), which was particularly strange to read as I began the book just as I moved to the city. I was planning on burning through the book in a matter of days, but instead I spread it out over three weeks and savoured the deliciously thrilling story. I was bracing myself for the emotional devastation I’d experienced while reading and watching The Handmaid’s Tale, and while the parallels between Gilead and our own geopolitical atmosphere did invoke an (expected) existentialism, I found myself feeling not only adrenaline, but also hope.
In my favourite passage of this brilliant book, Atwood writes, "So peaceful, the streets; yet underneath the deceptively placid surfaces, a tremor. We're stretched thin, all of us; we vibrate; we quiver, we're always on the alert. Reign of terror, they used to say, but terror does not exactly reign. Instead it paralyzes. My life might have been very different. If only I'd packed up early enough, as some did, and left the country. In that vanished country of mine, things had been on a downward spiral for years. The floods, the fires, the tornadoes, the hurricanes, the droughts, the water shortages. The decaying infrastructure, the tanking economy, the joblessness, the falling birth rate. People became frightened. Then they became angry. Why did I think it would nonetheless be business as usual? Because we'd been hearing things for so long, I suppose. You don't believe the sky is falling until a chunk of it falls on you." #BlessedBeTheFight